Ge­orge Fin­nikin, land­scaper:

Jamaica Gleaner - - CLASSIFIEDS - – C.G.

Prin­ci­pal of the Knock­alva Agri­cul­tural School, Dr Josh Nelson (third left), along with his stu­dents and staff mem­bers, were out in their num­bers at the Montpelier Agri­cul­tural Show on Easter Mon­day, where they show­cased and sold pro­duce from their farm.

agri­cul­tural in­sti­tu­tions in Ja­maica, un­til about two decades ago. Since its in­cep­tion in 1940, it has pro­duced some of Ja­maica’s finest agri­cul­tur­ists, many of whom have even gone on to be­come busi­ness­men in agro-in­dus­try, pub­lic servants and even pro­fes­sors in some of North Amer­ica’s best col­leges and univer­si­ties.

Some of the nu­mer­ous no­table past stu­dents in­clude food and agri­cul­ture ex­pert Rayal Hill; im­me­di­ate past prin­ci­pal of the school, Dr Josh Nelson; for­mer na­tional ath­lete Ge­orge Kerr, Robert Saams, Pro­fes­sor Al Thomp­son and char­tered ac­coun­tant Ho­race Hy­att.

Noted ru­ral so­ci­ol­o­gist Cedric McCul­loch is also a Knock­alva old boy. McCul­loch, who hails from Westmoreland, was a spe­cial­ist in the Eval­u­a­tion of Agri­cul­tural Ex­ten­sion Pro­gramme at the Min­istry of Agri­cul­ture and Lands be­tween 1965 and ’69, and was per­ma­nent sec­re­tary in the Min­istry of Youth and Com­mu­nity Devel­op­ment from 1979 to 1986.

Owner of St Thomas-based Stan­mark Food Pro­ces­sors, Canute Sadler, is also a proud past stu­dent and pres­i­dent of the school’s alumni. Stan­mark is one of the largest pro­duc­ers of au­then­tic Ja­maican farm pro­duce and presently ex­ports hun­dreds of mil­lions of dol­lars worth of canned

Knock­alva was es­tab­lished in 1940 as a prac­ti­cal train­ing cen­tre, but changed fo­cus in 1962 to an agri­cul­tural train­ing cen­tre, of­fer­ing a two-year pro­gramme in vo­ca­tional agri­cul­ture, with the ob­jec­tive of pro­vid­ing agri­cul­tural and tech­ni­cal train­ing for 15- to 17-year-old young­sters who would not be able to get fur­ther train­ing other­wise.

In 1980, the school was up­graded to an agri­cul­tural school of­fer­ing a three-year pro­gramme to youths 15 to 20. The aim then was to, among other things, pro­vide train­ing in sci­en­tific agri­cul­ture; op­er­ate an eco­nom­i­cally vi­able school to en­hance self-suf­fi­ciency; to equip stu­dents with farm and en­tre­pre­neur­ial skills; and to as­sist the devel­op­ment of neigh­bour­ing schools and com­mu­ni­ties through tech­ni­cal ex­per­tise.

Today, the school of­fers twoand three-year pro­grammes in gen­eral agri­cul­ture at the semiter­tiary level and core sub­jects at the CXC level to young­sters be­tween the ages of 15 and 18.

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